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Reuters Health Information (2006-08-31): Extended interferon-ribavirin course for HCV increases virologic response


Extended interferon-ribavirin course for HCV increases virologic response

Last Updated: 2006-08-31 13:11:04 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Extending treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with peginterferon-alfa2a plus ribavirin from 48 to 72 weeks results in significantly higher rates of sustained virologic response, the TeraViC-4 Study Group reports in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Jose M. Sanchez-Tapias of the Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques of August Pi i Sunyer in Barcelona and co-investigators treated 510 treatment-na�ve patients with detectable levels of HCV RNA with peginterferon-alfa-2a, 180 micrograms/week, plus ribavirin, 800 mg/day.

After 4 weeks, the 326 patients who continued to have detectable HCV-RNA levels were randomized to complete a 48-week course of treatment (group A, 165 patients) or to 72 weeks of therapy (group B, 161 patients).

The investigators followed the patients for another 24 weeks after the completion of antiviral therapy.

The treatment response rate was 61% for groups A and B, but the sustained virologic response rate was 32% in group A and 45% in group B.

HCV genotype 1-infected patients in group A had a sustained response rate of 28% and 44% in group B.

The incidence of adverse effects was similar in all groups, although discontinuation of treatment occurred in 18% of group A and 36% of group B.

"These data highlight the relevance of encouraging adherence to therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C," the investigators conclude.

Gastroenterol 2006;131:451-460.

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